Most pastors I know would like to mentor others. We realize that it’s part of our responsibility, and we’ve probably tried a few approaches, but we don’t have a consistent, reproducible plan for pouring our lives into others.
Regi Campbell can relate. He mentored a number of young people, but grew frustrated.
I was busy. I was also exhausted. I was meeting with guys all over Atlanta … breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was serving up advice like Starbucks serves up lattes. I didn’t know any better; I was serving the Lord by serving these folks, and God honored that with some spiritual breakthroughs for people here and there. But mostly I was just busy … spreading myself hopelessly thin trying to be all things to all God’s (single) people.
He heard a phrase that changed his approach: “More time with fewer people equals greater kingdom impact.” He changed tactics, meeting with a small group of guys monthly for 9 to 12 months. Guys commit to meeting for 9 to 12 sessions, no excuses (except for legitimate emergencies). They read an assigned book every month, write a single-page paper on the book, memorize Scripture, and agree to practice an assignment. They also commit to, at some point, repeat the process with others.
Since then, Campbell’s approach has been copied in dozens of churches. He’s written a book, Mentor Like Jesus: His Radical Approach to Building the Church, outlining his approach. He’s also produced a website, Radical Mentoring, which includes tools, resources, and content at no cost for churches interested in his approach.
I’ve read his book, and I’m beginning to implement the tools on his website. Before the first meeting to introduce the idea to guys I’d selected, I was able to access emails, a clear plan, a covenant, and more. I’m impressed by how everything is laid out so clearly.
I’m rarely a fan of plug-and-play approaches, but Radical Mentoring really isn’t like that. It provides just enough structure to help us get going and actually begin the process of discipleship. Rather than inventing a process, we can use and adapt one that’s already been developed and iterated. The rest is up to us.
I’m getting started, and if you’re interested in mentoring young leaders in your church, you should too. I’ll report back in about a year when we’re done. It looks like a great tool for those of us who want to mentor others, but didn’t know where to start. Now we do.